October 2018 Top Stories

Oct 03

FOCUS:
Fashion Retailing 2017-18: cautious expansion as major formats consolidate

Fashion retailers had a much better year in 2017 as the apparel and accessories market expanded 2.2% after two tough years of market contraction. Recent growth has mostly benefited the specialtystore and online sectors, but last year department stores also improved, and even the odd GMS chain enjoyed the balmier climate. As a result, department store market share among the top 100 fashion retailers – which account for 70% of the market – rose for the first time in 15 years, while the market share of the top 100 fell due to better sales at small retailers and independents. Trading is still tough, however, and retailers are cautious about consumer sentiment going forward.

Isetan-Mitsukoshi to close 3 more stores by 2020
Isetan-Mitsukoshi sacked its previous CEO for suggesting it should close several of its loss-making stores. Within six months the new leadership was forced to close one of these, and, after much internal wrangling, will now close three more. Further stores will have to be closed if it is to meet its profit targets.

Itochu Shoji signs Laura Ashley
Until this year, Laura Ashley had more than a hundred stores and sales of ¥11 billion in Japan, but after 30 years in the marketit now has none. From September, Itochu Shoji became its new licensee,and has already handed out sublicenses to 19 companies. It will focus on wholesale sales with just 10 stores planned in the first three years. ing  atthe start.

Gyomu Super: the booming ‘pro supermarket’ for all
Kobe Bussan opened its cash and carry food wholesale business to the general public back in 2000 and has not looked back. Today, its Gyomu Super is an 800 store chain, although entirely franchised, and continues to grow thanks to low prices and a unique range of merchandise – it is proof of how much Japanese appreciate discount retailing when they can access it.

Ebay:¥500 billion GTVs for Qoo10 through 2022
Following the purchase of online mall Qoo10, Ebayis back in Japan with a vengeance, hoping it can take on the e-commerce incumbents and become one of the top three online malls. One of its biggest appeals is offering Japanese merchants access to Ebay’s global marketplace. Unfortunately, just as it announced this service, Amazon launched its own.

Workman launches Decathlon style chain, plans 100 stores
Workman is a quiet success story, clothing Japan’s army of workers who need specialistwork clothing and uniforms, but it also has a growing following among mainstream consumers too. Last month saw the launch of a new chain called Workman Plus, which mixes the best elements of the core chain with the wide range and price points of a sports chain like Decathlon.

70+ population surpasses 20%
Japan faces an even more rapidly ageing population than previously thought, leading to yet more pressure on the government to further rethink policies both on retirement, but also on child rearing. It also means companies need to consider how they’ll find and use staff, all in the very near future.

Yaoko expands imported wine selection, seeks new overseas trading partners for food products 
Yaoko is expanding its range of directly imported wines, setting up a new trading arm to handle procurement and import processes, as well as establishing a quarter-million bottle inventory at its Kumagaya DC. The supermarket – one of the most successful retailers in the country – is looking for partners around the world that will help with sourcing, and who can meet regulatory and quality levels suitable for the Japanese market.

Sanyo Shokai reboots with new chains for the younger market
The major apparel firms continue to struggle with both declining apparel sales for their middle market brands, but also department stores’ increasing takeover of sales space for their own purposes, space that used to be in the purview of apparel firms. Sanyo Shokai has tried many times to fix this through new brands and foreign franchises but none have worked. Now it is launching into the SC market.

Rakuten launches own deliveries
Rakuten has started its own in-house logistics and fulfilment service for the 45,000 merchants using its Rakuten Ichiba online mall, and also opened the Rakuten Express delivery service to third-party merchants for the first time. The move has come late and it is starting small, being only available in parts of Chiba, but most existing Ichiba users will see it as a step in the right direction.

Shimamura under pressure
Shimamura is the sure and steady player in Japan’s apparel sector and for a long time has been something of a favourite among Japanese housewives as well as investors. That status may now be at risk as analysts become concerned with the company’s lack of progress in e-commerce and for not keeping up with changes in customer demand.

Retail Data: Chain stores enjoy growth in the summer

IN BRIEF
Sogo Kobe and Seibu Takatsuki to become Hankyu stores
Stripe Department gets a face lift, reaches 100,000 SKUs
Tsutaya opens mini-SC in Lalaport Nagoya
As-me plans 50 stores for 3-pricejewellery chain
IKEA: 5% of sales from EC, planspromotions with Adidas and Lego
Cartier conbini: food for gold lovers
Cookpad launches own netsuper
One mall for every 40,000 Japanese says Aeon REIT
Uniqlo to further ramp up overseas expansion
GU to launch samples only store in November
Dinos-Cecile launches personal catalogues
Muji stores to offer frozen foods
Familymart and Tsutaya open first collaboration store
United Arrows: womenswear up 20%
Nitori operating profit surges 16%
Zozo adds more products to private brand line up
Seiyu expands smartphone self-checkout
Online Payment Services to grow rapidly to 2022
Franchise retailing flat in 2017
Lawson demonstrates RFID in stores

Brands & Companies mentioned in this Issue:
ABC Mart
Accessories Blossom
Ace
Adastria
Adidas
Aegis
Aeon
Alicia
Alipay
Amazon
Aoki
Aoyama
Apolis
Apple Pay
As-me Estelle
Askul
Avail
Axis Femme
Baroque Japan
Baycrews
Belluna
Burberry
Cainz
Cartier
Cawachi Yakuhin
CCC
Celford
Chiyoda
Closshi
Coen
Cookpad
Cosme Kitchen
Daiei
Daimaru-Matsuzakaya
Decathlon
Descente
Dinos-Cecile
Divalo
Don Quijote
DSquared2
Ebay
Emmi
Familymart
Fashion Centre Shimamura
Fast Retailing
Field Dream
FieldCore
Find-Out
Fray I. D.
Fujisaki
Fukusuke
Gelato Pique
Global Work
Goldwin
Google Pay
Green Label Relaxing
GU
Gyomu Super
H2O Retailing
Hankyu-Hanshin
Honeys
IKEA
Instagram
Isetan
Ito-Yokado
Itochu Shoji
Itokin
Izumi
Izutsuya
JR Takashimaya
Jumble
Jupiter Shop Channel
Juste Un Clou
Kabi
Kintetsu
Kitowa
Kobe Bussan
Konaka
Koshigaya Laketown
Laforet Harajuku
Lalaport
Laura Ashley
Lawson
Lego
Leilian
Lowrys Farm
Lucua Osaka
Mac House
Mackintosh London
Mackintosh Philosophy
Marc Jacobs
Marche de Bleuet Plus
Marubeni
Maruei
Marui Imai Sapporo
Mash Holdings
Matsuya
Moonbat
Mr Bob
MUI Group
Mujirushi Ryohin
Munsingwear
Nature Tones
Nina Ricci
Ninao
Nissen
Nitori
Odakyu Shonan Gate
Onward Holdings
Otsuka Kagu
Owndays
Oxo
Pal Group
Palemo
Parco
Qoo10
Rakuten
Ruby Groupe
Ryohin Keikaku
Sanyo Shokai
Secoma
Seiyu
Seven Eleven
Shimamura
Smile Drug
Snidel
Softbank
Sogo Seibu
Sonia Rykiel
Starbucks
Start Today
Stripe Department
Stripe International
Studio Clip
Studious
T-Site
Takashimaya
Tokyu
Trinity Arts
Tsuruha
Tsutaya
Twitter
Uniqlo
United Arrows
United Tokyo
Uny
Urban Research
Workman
Yahoo
Yamada Denki
Yaoko
Zozo

Get a concise monthly update on Japanese Consumer Markets – and a FREE copy of our monthly report.